Rugby: Penguins v Guy's Hospital Present XV (The Scanlan Cup)
Saturday 21st April 2018
Paul Scanlan played for Guy's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th XVs from 1984 to 1993 and was a founder member of the Penguins XV.
He was 1st XV Vice-Captain, Student XV Captain and a GHRFC Vice-President.
He qualified in 1989 and was the first of his year to achieve Consultant status, as an orthodontist working in SE London and Kent.
His irrepressible humour, energy and zest for living were tragically curtailed by an acute illness which rapidly took his life.
He remains sorely missed and is remembered by the annual Penguins v Guy's Present XV match played for the Scanlan Cup.
Portrait painting of Paul Scanlan, which hangs currently on the wall of the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, at the entrance
to the Paul Scanlan Orthodontic Suite.
A minute's silence is observed in memory of Paul Scanlan
The 2018 Cup Match Write-Up
April 21st 2018 saw the Penguins 12 month unbeaten run put to the test by a determined Present Student team.
The day dawned bright and warm with hardly a breeze and the Penguins team on paper looked as strong as ever; the Match had been scheduled as the ‘Showpiece’ main event, kicking off later than usual at 14.00 to allow for travel and extended hamstring-stretching time.
As the hours ticked down towards kick-off so the team sheet started to fray at the edges with a deluge of excuses reaching the skipper via various routes including Facebook, text, WhatsApp and word-of-mouth and an hour before kick off your gallant correspondent was fearful of any noise from his phone in case he had lost another player and was even wary of passing pigeons in case they were bringing news of another drop-out.
However in the truest of Guy’s spirit players were shuffled around, the team sheet hastily drawn, re-drawn then ripped up, and a number of ‘young penguins’ quickly indoctrinated in order to make a game of it (thanks to those Freshers and Students who stepped up to fill in the gaps), and what a game it was!
As always a minute’s silence was observed at the start of the match to remember Paul Scanlan whose untimely passing is still keenly remembered by those who knew him. It is in his memory the Scanlan Cup is named and Charlie Beardmore was able to say a few words prior to kick off to remind those present of the provenance of the match.
Match official Ben Challacombe oversaw the necessaries and with the students and Penguins ready and raring to go the game was started.
With Penguins in key positions providing go-forward ball in the set pieces and around the breakdown the younger, faster, fitter students were able to make serious inroads into the defence and the scoreboard was soon ticking over.
Mark ‘Flo’ Edmonson and Ed Sheppard, along with intermittent input from Big Dan (who had already played the previous match), kept things tight up-front and all made a number of bullocking runs, Flo as ever was nearly impossible to stop despite having no ligaments in either knee.
Rauri Hadlington, pressed into playing scrum-half despite having already played 80 minutes of rugby, sniped and pressed at every breakdown giving the backs and forwards room to play behind the Students defence resulting in a couple of good scores.
In the lineouts Ben Thorpe soared like a Penguin and guaranteed the Old Boys kept hold of their possession with the Students forced to playing shortened lineouts on their own ball to try and counter this threat. Despite this the wily nous of Geraint Thomason and the sheer bloody mindedness of Iain Wilson and Oli Laird stopped the students from getting any real momentum up in the forwards.
Out in the backs the world’s oldest playing Penguin, Shay Reading, kept his good looks intact with no facial injuries sustained much to Kate’s relief, and Israel Sotonwa looked dangerous with the ball in hand on the wing. With Charlie West ferreting at the breakdown every Old Boy made a good showing throughout the match (and hopefully has been mentioned in this report) with the Penguins emerging as worthy 34-19 victors, their current unbeaten run intact.
Tries were scored by Israel Sotonwa, Bryan Herry (2), David Sparkhall and Daniel-Clement Osei-Bordom and some of them were converted, although I’m not sure by whom.
As always the match was a fitting tribute to Paul and despite a slight paucity of Penguins in the starting line-up the match was played in the true Guy’s spirit and has blooded a few future Penguins. The bar afterwards was awash with beer and tales of the old days and promises that we will all keep playing for as long as we are capable (and beyond for some of us).
James Jackson (Capt)
For more match photos, click here